WAEC: One SSCE, two overall best students

WAEC: One SSCE, two overall best students

In order to recognise and encourage students who did very well in its examinations, the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, inaugurated a scheme to honour this category of students. Its essence was to celebrate the best students in its examinations. This recognition brought along with scholarship and national honour from the students countries.

However a mild drama has begun to play out regarding who is the best student for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) of May/June 2011. With its entire government machinery, the Ondo State rolled out the drums to recognise and celebrate her own Miss Tolulope Falokun, a former student of St. Louis Secondary School, Ondo.

Commissioner for Information, Ondo State, Mr. Kayode Akinmade; Tolu; and Commissioner for Education, Mr. Remi Olatubora, during the state government reception for Tolu

The state government, through her Commissioner for Education, Mrs Remi Olatubora, organised a grand reception for Miss Falokun for scoring A1 in nine subjects. As part of the package, she was offered a scholarship to read law at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Like a bolt of lightning out of the sky, WAEC countered the Ondo State position by issuing a statement that Miss Falokun was neither the best candidate in West Africa nor in Nigeria. In fact, WAEC insists that the best students for the country and the sub-region had been announced and honoured at the 60th Annual Council meeting in Abuja on March 27, 2012.

WAEC says it was 17-year-old Miss Christianah Opeyemi Adeloye from Nigeria, and of Charis International College, Abeokuta, Ogun State, who was among the three best students presented at the Council meeting. WAEC publicly bestowed upon 19- year-old Ann Abena Sakyi, 17 year-old Hameed Irbaz (both from Ghana) and Miss Adeloye, first, second and third best students respectively of the May/June 2011 WASSCE.

Meanwhile, Ondo State government is holding on to its claim, as it said, through its Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, that WAEC congratulated the state through a letter to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and signed by one Mr. Austin Aidokha on behalf of the Head of National Office (HNO) in Nigeria, who described the student’s (Miss Falokun) performance as fantastic and unique, making her the best student in the sub-region and Nigeria in the 2011 WASSCE.

This recognition was conveyed to Ondo State, on behalf of WAEC, by one Midas Global Associates, a company based in Egbeda, Lagos. Midas Global Associates had earlier written to the Ondo State government requesting for the curriculum vitae (CV) of Miss Falokun.

The reason for the request by Midas Global Associates, as explained by an Ondo State government official, was to provide background information on any student that had done extremely well at any of WAEC’s examination. The procedure was normal.

The CV was to complement the profile of the selected student. Midas Global Associates is known to WAEC and could not have written the letter without any form of authorisation.

The facts state that Miss Tolulope Falokun, with examination number 429160/084, recorded A1 in nine subjects – Christian Religious Knowledge, Economics, Government, Literature in English, English Language, Yoruba Language, Mathematics, Agricultural Science and Biology – with a total score (T-score) of 742,6992.

On the other hand, Miss Opeyemi Adeloye, who WAEC recognised as the best student in Nigeria and was honoured with the National Distinction/Merit Award at the Abuja ceremony, made A1 in eight – Economics, Geography, English Language, Yoruba Language, Mathematics, Agricultural Science, Biology and Physics with a T-score of 682,3283. For her feat, Miss Adeloye received a presidential handshake from Vice President Namadi Sambo, who represented his boss, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Her school, Charis International College, was not left out, as it was presented with the Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, the Benin monarch’s trophy for producing the “the best female candidate in 2011 WASSCE”.

To further complicate issues, WAEC announced that 17-year-old Miss Iyeyinka Omigbodun, a former student of Louisville Girls High School, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, is the second best student under the national category. Miss Omigbodun was said to have got A1 in eight subjects, namely Literature in English, English Language, Yoruba Language, Further Mathematics, Mathematics, Agricultural Science, Chemistry and Physics. Miss Omigbodun had a T-score of 680,9797 with examination number 4280811/075.

The third position, under the national category, went to 18-year-old Miss Kanayo Uduani Nwigbo from Ebonyi State with number 4250418/198 and a T-score of 675,2813. She scored A1 in eight subjects – English Language, Geography, Mathematics, Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Most intriguing is that the name of Miss Tolulope Falokun, who scored A1 in nine subjects, never featured in the national category, not to talk of the sub-regional group.

The question being raised here is whether there was a mistake in the collation of the best candidates, as WAEC has not refuted the A1 scores in nine subjects by Miss Falokun, whose performance still stands as the best, whether at the national category or the sub-regional level. Dr. Uyi Uwadiae, Head of the National Office (HNO), after a meeting with some WAEC officials, pledged that the examination body would see to the end of the matter.

Speaking in the same vein, Mr. Yusuf Ari, Deputy Director of Public Affairs of WAEC, said the Council would investigate how Falokun’s school and Ondo State government arrived at the result. According to him, WAEC has time-tested criteria to choose the best students and these were used in honouring the recently announced best candidates in 2011 May/June WASSCE.

He was however silent on the role of Midas Associates. Meanwhile, Ondo State is standing on its position. Responding through her Commissioner for Information, Akinmade, and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor,
Mr. Eni Akinsola, they said Miss Falokun’s school and the state government went ahead to honour the candidate based on a letter sent by WAEC through Midas Global Associates.

Akinmade claimed the state government was in possession of the letter from WAEC that showed that Miss Falokun came first not only in Nigeria but also in the sub-region. Akinsola said the document from WAEC was signed by one Mr. Austin Aidokhai, where he stated the criteria used in determining the best candidates.

From all indications, relying on the T-scores given by WAEC, Falokun is the best student in the May/June 2011 WASSCE. Meanwhile, the drama is still unfolding as stakeholders are asking WAEC how Midas Global Associates, located in Egbeda, Lagos, could act on its behalf. Secondly, the public would like WAEC to confirm whether Miss Falokun achieved A1 in nine subjects or not. The answer to this question would put to rest the entire controversy.

WAEC: One SSCE, two overall best students

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